Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) Adds Pharmacy Automation Solution at Cedar Crest Campus

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Leading Pennsylvania hospital installed advanced pharmacy automation solution.

The drive toward patient safety, efficiency and productivity led Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN), Allentown, Pa., to invest in a state-of-the-art automated drug management system manufactured by Swisslog (http://www.swisslog.com), a leading provider of pharmacy automation solutions.

The health network recently installed a PillPick® system, which automatically packages, stores and dispenses unit dose medications in bar coded packages, at its Cedar Crest hospital location. Its sister hospital in Bethlehem, Pa., installed a PillPick system in 2005. The PillPick systems also serve the organization's third location in nearby Allentown. "The addition of the new PillPick system will greatly enhance the efficiency of the pharmacy operations," says Bob Begliomini, Lehigh Valley Health Network's administrator of pharmacy services. "The patients and caregivers at all of our campuses benefit from the PillPick System." The PillPick system at LVHN's Bethlehem location distributes over 4,000 unit doses daily.

The PillPick system packages tablets and capsules, as well as odd-shaped items such as syringes, ampoules, vials and liquid cups, in bar coded unit-doses. These bar-coded bags are automatically transferred to a high-density pharmacy robot that can hold up to 54,000 unit doses. Unit doses are then pulled from the robot into a unit that assembles patient-specific, 24-hour medication orders on a patented, flexible PickRing. LVHN- Cedar Crest, which relies on a cart fill exchange, will prepare PickRings for patient specific administration. Each PickRing can be arranged alphabetically or by order of administration and a label attached to each ring specifies the drug, administration time and other patient-specific information. PickRings are a unique method in which patient-specific drugs are assembled to ensure greater patient safety, as each dose is checked for accuracy immediately before dispensing. PickRings can be assembled for cabinet-specific medication administration as well.    

In addition, the system handles drug returns via an automated PickReturn module. Through a door on the unit, a pharmacy technician simply removes the unit doses from the PickRing and places the unit doses onto pins inside the module.

"The PillPick system at our Cedar Crest campus will mirror the solution at our Muhlenberg facility, creating a unified approach to patient safety and efficiency," Begliomini added. "This was one additional step toward fulfilling our mission of providing the highest quality patient care through leading-edge technology."

About Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN)
Lehigh Valley Health Network includes three hospital facilities - two in Allentown and one in Bethlehem, Pa.; eight health centers caring for communities in four counties; numerous primary and specialty care physician practices throughout the region; pharmacy, imaging and lab services; and preferred provider services through Valley Preferred. Specialty care includes trauma care at the region's busiest, most-experienced trauma center treating adults and children, burn care at the regional Burn Center, kidney and pancreas transplants; perinatal/neonatal, cardiac, cancer, and neurology and complex neurosurgery capabilities including national certification as a Primary Stroke Center.

Lehigh Valley Health Network has been recognized by US News & World Report for 13 consecutive years as one of America's Best Hospitals. Other accolades include FORTUNE magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work For,"Hospitals and Health Network's "100 Most Wired" and "25 Most Wireless Hospitals" in the U.S., and the Leapfrog Group's "Leapfrog Top Hospital" designation, one of only 33 in the nation. All three LVHN hospitals are designated national Magnet hospitals for excellence in nursing. Additional information is available at http://www.lvh.org.

About Swisslog
Swisslog is a global provider of integrated logistics solutions for warehouses, distribution centers and hospitals. Its comprehensive services portfolio ranges from building complex warehouses and distribution centers to implementing Swisslog's own software. In addition Swisslog provides intra-company logistics solutions for hospitals as well as software and consulting services in the field of supply chain management.

Swisslog's Healthcare Solutions division is the world leader providing logistics automation mainly for healthcare markets. Swisslog has installed hospital material transport and pharmacy automation systems in more than 2,000 hospital and pharmacies throughout the world. Swisslog offers total system design, manufacturing, installation and customer support providing a complete hospital supply chain management approach to logistics challenges. Swisslog Healthcare Solutions division headquarters is located in Denver, CO with corporate headquarters in Buchs/Aarau, Switzerland. For more information, visit http://www.swisslog.com.


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